I left GA bound for NC today. While I was able to get packed up and going on my bike when it was dry, the rain came soon enough. Things were going fairly well, but the rain kept getting harder and harder. Eventually I stopped in South Carolina near the North Carolina border for gas and found a smoking break shelter to park my bike under and regroup. My goretex rain gear was no match for the duration and strength of the rain, and everything I had on was soaking wet. The weather radar showed no signs of relief, so I figured I needed to change my itinerary and find somewhere dry to sleep for the night. Luckily, my planned campground stop wasn’t too far away from Camp Lejeune in Jacksonville, NC, so I called ahead and reserved a room there for $36/night at the All Points Inn (http://www.lejeune.marines.mil/NewPersonnel/SettlingIn.aspx). I got back on the bike, crossed the state line, and cut across the country bound for Jacksonville, getting poured on the whole way. About 20 minutes from my destination, I felt the back end of my bike all the sudden get really squirrely on me, sliding around everywhere. I very hesitantly started slowing down with my front brake. Of course it’s still pouring so the road is slick, there is no shoulder at all but a ditch full of water is there, and there are about three cars behind me. I finally get stopped and look and my rear tire is completely flat. I didn’t think I hit anything, but it was hard to see in the rain so I guess I could have. I’m looking around trying to find a safe place to park my bike for further inspection when I randomly notice the Jacksonville, NC chapter of the Armed Forces Motorcycle Club across the street about 100 ft down the road. What are the odds? I ease the bike over there and park it in the parking lot. There were two Harley’s and a truck in the lot, but no one answered the door, so I got to work taking off my bags to get better access to the tire. Thankfully, the rain subsides. Eventually, someone came outside and introduced himself as ‘Sumo’. He was certainly rough around the edges, but friendly enough. After I determine nothing is in the tire, I start to get it off the bike. As it starts to get darker, Sumo grabs the light that is illuminating the flagpole and aims it in my direction. He can provide absolutely no mechanical or technical assistance, but he is a good light holder. I get the wheel off the bike by propping the bike up with some cinder blocks he found me, and then get to work breaking the bead and getting the tire off. Let’s just say the tire was on there pretty good, but I eventually got it off. Turns out the stem broke clean off the rest of the tube, making about a two inch hole in the process. This was clearly not patchable, but luckily I had a spare tube with me. It was much thicker than the original one, so hopefully it will last the rest of my trip. I also elected to go ahead and put on the tire I’d been carrying at the same time, as the current tire was getting pretty worn due to all the pavement over the past few days. Well, nothing is easy. Getting the new tube’s valve stem back through the rim was almost impossible, and then I thought I was going to bust a blood vessel in my head I was straining so hard trying to get the tire mounted back on the rim. Some soapy water would have probably helped in hindsight, but my soap had spilled all over my bags in GA and I didn’t think to ask if Sumo had any. With everything mounted, I hooked up my crappy 12V pump to the pigtail I made it and plugged it into the bike. It inflated the tube at a snails pace, and I didn’t get the impression I’d be able to seat the tire bead on the rim with such a little pump. Furthermore, I apparently left my dial indicator pressure gauge at home, so I had no way of knowing what pressure the tire was under. I got Sumo to run me down to the gas station where I bought a cheap pressure gauge and used their pump to seat the bead. All was good, and I got back and loaded everything up and was on my way after giving Sumo $20 for his trouble. I finally made it to Camp Lejeune and got checked into my room close to midnight I think. I was completely exhausted, so I took an amazing shower then went to sleep.